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Pop Culture Pet Peeve: Movies that include pets just to kill them

I’m not your typical movie crier. Unlike most of my friends, I don’t tend to cry at big romantic gestures or when anyone in a Nicholas Sparks movie dies. But there is one thing that will always get me, as well as most of the other people in the theater: killing an animal. I just can’t. So this week, I quite literally have a pet peeve to discuss with Hollywood.

First things first, there’s a big difference between an animal film in which one dies and a film that includes an animal just to kill it. This particular pet peeve does not apply to the likes of Homeward Bound or any Disney film ever. At least with those, I know to bring tissues and have an episode of Friends waiting for me when I get home. It’s the movies that include a pet purely to kill it that really rub me the wrong way.

There’s almost nothing I hate more than walking into an action film, or a horror film, and finding out that the protagonist has a dog. From then on out, I do nothing but spend the entire movie covering my eyes and waiting for the horrible moment when that dog is going to bite the dust, because it will happen. It always does.

Take I Am Legend, for example. Will Smith is the only member of his family to survive the Krippin Virus outbreak, and yet somehow, he has his dog, Samantha. They sleep together in a bathtub and the poor clueless animal still believes she can protect her idiotic owner, even when he drives her right into the middle of a fight. Surprise! She gets bitten by one of the freaky things — do I call them zombies or not? — and despite his attempts to save her, Samantha eventually turns and tries to bite him. Smith is forced to strangle her in a scene that absolutely wrecks me (and is way too long). I knew it was coming, and yet I couldn’t emotionally prepare myself. It’s a trap that movies often catch me in, and I don’t appreciate it.
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